Entries from: May 2008

Re-Thinking Success

May 30th, 2008, Comments (17)


Flying

It's all too easy to focus on the rejections in life and forget the successes. Why is that? Are we afraid of being considered a show off, too big for our britches, self-absorbed, annoyingly happy? It's funny the ways our egos will bring us down by saying things like: the higher you go the harder you'll fall, who do you think you are? It Reminds me of this wonderful quote:

Our greatest fear is not that we are inadequate,
but that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us.
We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant,
gorgeous, handsome, talented and fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.

Your playing small does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking
so that other people won't feel insecure around you.

We were born to make manifest the glory of God within us.
It is not just in some; it is in everyone.

And, as we let our own light shine, we consciously give
other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our fear,
our presence automatically liberates others.

-Marianne Williamson

I do think it's important to share when we're struggling sometimes, if only to release it and move on, I think it's equally important to share when we're soaring. In the past, I might have felt jealous when I read about the success of others, but I've learned along the way, that there truly is enough success out there for everyone. So here are my thoughts about re-thinking success. I'd love to hear yours!

How to Re-Think Success
:

Define it
: What does success mean? It's different for everyone and so it's important to define it for yourself. Keep a list of successes small and large that you want to attain in your life and check back on them periodically to see where you're at. Most importantly, when you do check something off that list, celebrate it! I know that I forget to do this quite often. I'll brush one success off as no big thing, automatically thinking on the next thing I haven't accomplished yet. But it's important to revel in your successes, no matter how small.

Re-Focus: At the end of the day, instead of focusing on what you didn't do, focus on what you did accomplish. Write it down! There's something oddly satisfying about writing your "already done" list. Instead of knocking yourself down for the things you didn't check off your to-do list and feeling crappy about it (and yourself), you can instead feel great about what you did do. It's so much easier to continue forward when you're focusing on your accomplishments. Beating yourself up, tends to lead to a vicious cycle of feeling bad, procrastinating, and then feeling worse. Don't go there. Feel great about what you do and keep growing!

Live it
: You know that expression, "Fake it til you make it"? There is something to it. Acting as if you've already attained your goals is a powerful way to move into them. This falls into the "Law of Attraction" category I suppose. I haven't read "The Secret", but I've read about the topic of attraction in other places, like Martha Beck's Steering by Starlight and I've had my own experiences of it along the way. My feelings about it are a little hard to put words to, but what I have grasped is that when you can imagine that feeling you'd have if whatever goal or success you want has come true and then live in that frame of mind, wonderful things can happen. When you act from a place of love and success, success comes to you. When you act from a place of lack and desperation, that's what comes.

Celebrate it: It's wonderful to not only celebrate your own success, but also the success of others. When your friends have success, join them in celebrating. The good mojo and inspiration will soak into your skin and light you up. My friend Jessie is rocking and rolling with her new business and I'm so thrilled for her. And as a side benefit, her success gets me so excited about my own work!

Do it
: There's something quite powerful about doing what you love. It shows. It inspires other people. Just by doing it, whatever it is, you are a success. There's a wonderful sense of accomplishment and self-respect that comes from working on those projects big and small that make you glow with joy. Celebrate that joy. Celebrate the success that you are. Let your own light shine.

In the interest of sharing success, one of my greatest joys is hearing from someone who has felt some sort of connection to my art. That happened yesterday when I sold a print of Betwixt and Between (above) from my etsy store and I got a super sweet message from the buyer about how she'd found my art and what it meant to her. What a wonderful treat that is. (And a good reminder to let sellers of art or other goods know why you purchased their products. It means a lot!)

Re-Thinking Rejection

May 28th, 2008, Comments (15)

I haven't done a "Wellness Wednesday" post for awhile. Today I was thinking about how as part of wellness you need to learn how to embrace rejection. Well, maybe not embrace it, but at least re-think it.

There are all sorts of heavy feelings tied up with the word rejection, such as hurt, shame, and embarrassment. We all deal with it, whether in the form of relationships, our work, or simple exchanges with other people in the world. As a creative person putting their art into the world, hearing the word "no" is to be expected.

In the past, I've avoided putting myself out there because of the fear of rejection. Somewhere down deep, I was saying, "Aha, rejection, I've got you now! If I don't apply (show up, try it, etc), I won't have to experience you at all!" Well, this is wrong on many counts and the sad part is that it only ends up hurting me more.

Patti twittered the this quote the other day:

To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong.- Joseph Chilton Pierce

I've definitely been scared of being wrong. It's a fear that follows me around and shows up in my work, in my relationships, in my conversations. In a group, I might not speak up because I don't want conflict. Or I may get into a heated discussion with someone I care about because I want to be right. Some of this wanting to be right is all tied up with rejection and I'm slowly, but surely learning to let it go. I don't need nor do I want to always be right. I'm letting those stressful attempts at perfection (fruitless and never-ending attempts) go. I'm learning to lose. And through losing, I win.

I remember sometime last year when the hubster told me, "there's no such thing as failure." There is trying and there's not trying and every "try" is an experience through which you learn and grow. I think we can all look back on relationships, jobs, moments where we felt rejected in that moment, but now we realize it was for the best and simply part of our path.

So, why embrace rejection? Well, if you're putting your work out into the world, more rejections may mean that you are stretching, that you are going for it. You may get more "no" responses than you normally would, but you also open yourself up for the "yeses!"

It's also important to remember that rejections usually aren't personal. That gallery, job, person, experience may not be what they're looking for at that time (or the right thing for you either), but it doesn't necessarily mean they don't like your work. So, when rejection comes my way, I think to myself, "O.k., that isn't the right place for my work right now. Good to know. Moving on."

Speaking of moving on, as Julia Cameron says, the only cure for criticism is creativity (I'm paraphrasing here.) And while rejection isn't exactly criticism, it can sting just the same. Unfortunately, it's all to easy to let a "no" stop us dead in our tracks. I can tell you from experience, the best antidote is to get back to work in whatever way you can. As soon as you start to create again, the fog of doubts will lift and you'll get connected with what you love.

I've been putting my work out there more (and need to do much more of it.) Today I received two rejections (one very nice, one brief and form-like) and one acceptance. And that's one yes I would not have had, if I hadn't put myself out there. There's no doubt that some rejections are more painful than others. You may need to grieve a bit, but then pull yourself up and get back to it. As for me, I got back into it and had some fun with acrylic and ink on paper and made the painting at the top of this post! ("Birdhouse", 8"x10", acrylic, ink, pencil on watercolor paper.)

Oh Bee-have!

May 27th, 2008, Comments (10)

Yikes. The older I get, the more I can't contain the puns.

I was feeling a bit stressed earlier, worked myself into a veritable tornado of anxiety. As I apply to various things (shows, galleries, agents, etc...) this sometimes happens. Is it fear of rejection? I'm sure it is in part, but the truth is that rejection isn't all that bad. I can handle it. So what is it that's causing my heart to race? Some underlying fear of being judged or being not good enough seems to be part of it. What an unpleasant feeling. In order to calm myself down, I needed to go sit outside and read for awhile. The cool post-storm air and a grounding book along with some cat snuggles helped bring me back down to earth.

Tonight, I feel calm again and I decided to do some fun art. This week's Inspire Me Thursday theme was "whimsy." Earlier in the day, an image of houses carried by balloons popped into my head, so I scribbled it down quick in my sketchbook and carried on. Later in the day, I was thinking on the combo of aqua and red and decided that I could do that quite nicely with the idea I'd sketched out. The idea of it is whimsical I think.

Beehivesdetail_2

When I finished the houses and balloons, I noticed a small white spot on the paper that looked like a bee hovering over the house. I decided to draw him in along with another small one at the top. More whimsy!

How did it get so late? Oh, I'm sleepy...But before I go, some links!

-Erin of Design for Mankind has created another gorgeous zine, which you can read here. This issue is all about inspiration in nature.

-Looking for some places to submit your artwork? The Art Deadlines list runs a blog with a wide range of opportunities.

-Want to learn how to draw a face? So much of it is in the proportions. This video is a great place to start!

And that's all she wrote, for tonight.

Creative Gifting

May 26th, 2008, Comments (6)

Oh, it's so lovely out. I'm out on my porch right now enjoying the warm breeze. It's definitely shorts weather, but I totally need to shave my legs if I'm going to go anywhere besides my porch. Hehe.

Recipe

Creativity galore! I love infusing a bit of creativity into little things like prepping a gift. I had a bridal shower to attend this weekend and the large pile of towels I got as a gift wasn't going to fit into a regular sized gift bag, so I bought an inexpensive large white bag and decorated it. I used a stamp of leaves down the side in brown ink and then used blue markers to draw in circle flowers. I used a blue piece of card stock to make a matching card and some ribbon I had stashed away to attach the card and pretty-up the top of the bag. We were asked to bring a recipe to the shower, so I used another piece of blue cardstock (leftover from my own wedding stuff) to write the recipe out on with a purty matching flower. Presto-change-o, a personalized gift.

Fun linkage share of the day: Connie at Dirty Footprint Studios shared a link to an art talk radio interview with Suzi Blu that I enjoyed listening to. I'm going to be doing a blog talk radio interview with Lia of Art Junk Girl in the next couple weeks!

Creative Every Day: May 26th – June 1st, 2008

May 26th, 2008, Comments (13)

CED2008 participants! Feel free to leave a comment here with a link to post(s) about your creative activities during the week of 5/26/08 -6/1/08.

Happy creating!

Weekend Shares

May 25th, 2008, Comments (5)

Leap

I've got some new art in my shop. You can check out the "New Art" page where I put new pieces on occasion. One of the new pieces up for sale is Leap, which I'm offering as a print. I love the whimsy behind this piece and it also seems t o fit in nicely with my Risk theme thanks to my dream lynx.

In the morning I was up at the crack o' dawn for a furntiture delivery. I was talking to the hubster about the new furnishings on the phone (he's celebrating a friend's b-day out of town), I told him how our cat, Sadie, was flipping out about the new furniture. I told him I couldn't figure out why she hid under the new chairs, rolled around on the trunk/coffee table and posed herself in all sorts of ridiculous positions on the rug. The hubster told me he was going back to bed and suggested I do the same, but I was too hyped up. That's when the hubster pointed out that Sadie was probably hyped up the same way I was about the new furniture. Hehe. I suppose, I'm not much different than my crazy cat some days. I'll take some pics when everything is set up. We're still trying to unload our dining room table and the lead I had fell through. Once the table moves out, we'll be able to arrange the new furniture as we like it.

In the afternoon, I took a trip to the mall to pick up a bridal shower gift. The mall was nutty. After I found the gift, I was perusing the shoes at Macy's when this little girl crouched down by one of the shoe mirrors and started screaming at the top of her lungs over and over again. No idea where her parents were or what she was screaming about, but wow, that kid had some lungs! I was happy to scoot out of there and enjoy a lovely ride home with the windows open. Mmm.

Now for some inspiration:

  • A man who took a polaroid every day for 18 years of his life, til the day he died. The story was written about on mental_floss. The man behind the pictures was James Livingston. You can read more about him here. Found via Design for Mankind. I love how these polaroids are such simple moments in time, pieces of the every day. It's a very touching collection.
  • The super talented and sweet, Jessie has opened up a new etsy shop for her blooming animal art business, Stray Dog Arts. Her paintings are incredible and truly capture the personalities of the dogs she paints. On the etsy shop she's offering, gift certificates for commissioned pieces, originals, prints, and cards.
  • I went back to the Container Store today to pick up another storage bin made of newspaper. I have one at home already and they're super cool looking, fit perfectly on my bookshelf, and they're eco-friendly!

Stretch Yo-Self!

May 24th, 2008, Comments (7)

I worked on the Penelope's Web painting some more tonight, but it's not done quite yet. While waiting for parts to dry, I felt like doing something else. I was inspired by Jen Worden's "Stretch Yourself" Challenge which I've wanted to play along with, but never got around to doing before now. Jen recently changed the challenge from a weekly challenge to a monthly one. For the month of May (which isn't over yet, so give it a shot!), the challenge is to create a triptych using some kind of tape, some object from your junk drawer, and a word.

I used 3 postcards (each 3.5"x5.5") as the base and then used paper collage, ink, marker, paint on top of that. I chose two items (a fake coin and sailboat charm) and wrote the word "Risk" on the center card. I didn't do too much planning and let it kind of flow out. I didn't choose the word until after the collage came together as it seemed to fit. Plus it was the word I related to my dream lynx, so it seemed especially appropriate.

The hubster is out of town on business, so I had an evening to spread out with my art supplies and watch Harry Potter. hehe. The cats and I had a blast. What can I say, that's my idea of a perfect night. Simple pleasures.

The synchronicities have continued today which has been very cool. At the crack of dawn, I'll be up to welcome a delivery of some new furniture and then I think I'll be going directly back to sleep. Well, since I do need to get up early, I should definitely be hitting the hay about now. Sweet dreams. I hope your weekend is a wonderfully creative one!

One doesn't discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time. -Andre Gide

I’d Rather Be in the Studio

May 23rd, 2008, Comments (8)

The lovely and talented Tammy Vitale is hosting Alyson Stanfield today on her blog book tour for, I'd Rather Be in the Studio!: The Artist's No Excuse Guide to Self Promotion. Besides writing, Alyson is also an artist consultant, workshop leader, and writes at the Art Biz Blog.

As part of the blog book tour, Alyson is answering a question at each stop. Tammy's question was about how to write an article about your art for a magazine. Check out Alyson's answers here.

I took an online class with Alyson Stanfield last summer around art marketing and I'm still in touch with some of my classmates! It was very helpful in getting me to think about how I talk about my art and how I promote myself. I still have quite a bit to learn when it comes to self promotion, so I'm sure the book would be a big help! Actually, it was Alyson's advice that recently inspired me to re-do my banner to include my name in it.

Creative Every Day Linkage

May 23rd, 2008, Comments (5)

There are a lot of Creative Every Day 2008 participants, so much creativity!! It can be hard to keep up with, so I like to share links on occasion to participant blogs, so you can see what's happening with the wonderfully creative people on the list to the right. 

Aa

-Kira of a girl and her journal, has some great tutorial videos on her blog and she's also teaching an online art journal workshop, Artistic Alchemy, this summer that sounds very cool. I love the banner she made for it!!

-There are some wonderful creations being posted on the Creative Every Day flickr group. Go see for yourself and post your own work if you'd like!

-artandtea has a picture of a journal page she's working on with such gorgeous beadwork in it!!

-Wendy of Hammermarks has posted a link to an interview (starts around 32 minutes in) she did about her participation in the VisArts festival. Wendy makes gorgeous jewelry, definitely go see what she's making!

-Lynn of Getting my Feet Wet has created a beautiful selection of cards with her photographs on them to sell in a local gallery and soon she'll have them on etsy too. Great job, Lynn!

-Cathy of Partly Paper has vintage images up on her blog that she's invited anyone to download and use in their own art. How sweet! Thanks Cathy!

Enjoy and Happy Creating!!

Lynx Dreams

May 23rd, 2008, Comments (15)

Since reading Steering by Starlight, I've been paying a little bit more attention to my dreams. Martha Beck describes an interesting way of interpreting dreams in the book that changed the way I looked at the things that show up in my dreams. Beck suggests looking at every symbol, place, and person in your dream, ask them what they're there to do, what they represent, and then answer as that person, symbol, etc...So, for example, if you dreamt about an alligator, then you'd ask the alligator what it was there for and what it's there to teach you. And then  you might answer something like, "I'm an alligator, I live in the swamps. I'm here to help you come out of hiding, to be in the sun." Or something like that. I don't think I'm all that good at determining what symbols mean, what they represent in my life, but seeing each symbol as something that is trying to help or guide me in some way, has shifted the way I look at all those crazy night visions that I have every night.

Lynxbaby

So anyways, last night, I dreamt about a lynx. It was a very vivid dream. I didn't write it down in the morning like Beck recommends, but I kept thinking about it during the day. I remembered that in the dream the hubster and I had bought a baby lynx, but it was growing big fast and had huge claws and one big sharp tooth. It looked a bit like my orange cat, Tabbers, but much bigger. I was worried that the lynx was going to hurt us or our cats and felt that we had to bring him back to the shelter. I felt so guilty and sad about wanting to return him, but I also felt it was necessary. During the day today, I remembered that I'd called the big cat something that started with an "L". In the evening, I remembered that I called it a lynx, but I wasn't 100% sure that was an actual animal name, never mind whether or not it was a big cat.

Lynx

So, after watching a disappointing Celtics game, I googled "lynx" and saw the cat from my dreams. Very weird. But the thing that totally blew my mind was reading that the goddess Freya (who I've painted and experienced much synchronicity around) was said to have ridden on a lynx. Now, I'd read that Freya was sometimes depicted with cats, but I'd never read about the cat being a lynx. Goose bumps!

Further reading showed that the lynx is supposed to help with psychic abilities and divination and are believed to be the keeper and knower of secrets. The lynx is associated with inspiration, revelation, and mysticism.  Actually, the more I read, the stranger it got. Actually, this was kind of cool, there was a group created in the early 17th century called the l'Accademia dei Lincei (Academy of Lynxes) that was dedicated to scientific investigation and the search for truth through observation. They chose the Lynx as part of their Academy's name because the lynx was known to have penetrating vision. The 6th member of this group was none other than Galileo. I found this particularly interesting considering my post this week about how I consider myself a scientific and spiritual person, which is somewhat similar to the associations the lynx has with skeptical, scientific viewpoint and also mysticism.

So, what does my dream mean? Not sure. After answering the questions as the lynx, I believe the dream has something to do with taking risks. But I may do some more writing and see what else comes up.

(Images from National Geographic and answers.com)

p.s. Like the new look? I may tweak it a little bit, but for now, I'm liking it. I'd like to change up the banner a little more frequently. I used to change my blog banner with each season change, so perhaps I'll go back to that.